December 12, 2016 by Made In Brum
By Harrison Taylor
After a disappointing three-nil defeat to Barnsley last Saturday, Blues faced undoubtedly the toughest game of the season, against one of the best squads The Championship has ever seen, Newcastle. Not only do they have former Real Madrid manager Rafa Bentitez in charge, they have a pletera of Premier League quality players. Blues needed a minor miracle to come away with all three points.
Blues made two changes from their last match, bringing in Greg Stewart for the suspended David Davis and Che Adams for Jukas Jutkiewicz. Rowett clearly opted for a a more defensive formation against a very strong opponent.
The game started slowly for Blues and Newcastle didnt hesitate to pounce on that. After multiple efforts on goal, they broke the deadlock with only 18 minutes on the clock. Weak defending down the left hand side from Jonothan Grounds and Ryan Shotton meant that Mohamed Diame had space to put a perfect cross into the box into Dwight Gayle, his header beat Thomas Kuszczak.
It took only six minutes for Newcastle to increase their lead. Poor defending yet again meant Isaac Hayden was able to run into the box, his cross deflected off Robert Tesche and found Dwight Gayle in acres of space three yards from goal. He simply had to tap it in. At this point, only 24 minutes into the match, Blues looked down and out.
Two minutes into the second half, the home team grabbed a third. Jonjo Shelvey revieved a short free kick 35 yards from goal. He played a clever chipped pass into the box. The ball found Yohann Gouffran who’s shot couldnt be stopped by Kuszczak.
A moment of controversy was perhaps the most enthrawling moment of the game for Blues fans. Karl Darlow commited to a loose ball coming towards the box. And seemed to handle it outside of the area. The referee didnt see it, but the Blues fans all the way up in the top tier did.
Blues’ only real chance of the match fell to young debutant Corey O’Keeffe. Che Adams found enough space to get a shot off on goal. O’keeffe latched onto the rebound and his header went well wide. Even though he was only given his squad number earlier last week, he should have done better.
Yet again, poor defending on the left hand side matched with fantastic football made it far to easy for Newcastle to grab yet-another goal. Jonjo Shelvey played a neat one-two with Matt Ritchie past a sleeping Grounds and Kieftenbeld. He played a low cross into Dwight Gayle who unsuprisingly grabbed his third of the game and Newcastles fourth.
An afternoon to forget for Blues’ which should have ended even worse. At the final whistle, Rowett stated that “we should have played more aggresively.” and “defended better as a team”. Which is an understatement.
After conceding 7 goals in two games, looking very poor, some serious investment is needed in January to keep our promotion hopes alive.
Ratings: Kuszczak 7, Cogley 6, Morrison 5, Shotton 5, Grounds 4, Gleeson 6, Tesche 5, Cotteril 5, Adams 6, Stewart 5, Donaldson 5. Subs: Keiftenbeld 6, Jutkeiwicz 5, O’Keeffe 5.